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The Association Between Physical and Mental Health and Face Mask Use

mental health and face mask use

We all know that the World Health Organization stated COVID-19 to be a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. At that time, the number of COVID-19 cases was regularly increasing, and after five months, worldwide cases kept on increasing. With the severity of this increasing pandemic, CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommended wearing face masks in public and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others to prevent COVID-19 transmission. This recommendation created controversy among people.

Wearing masks led to many concerns as masks being perceived as inconvenient, a nuisance, cumbersome, or uncomfortable. Some people even considered the extended use of masks as dangerous or unhealthy. Here we will talk about the physical and psychological impact of wearing masks during COVID-19 and how it related to people's perceptions and willingness to comply with wearing masks. 

Physical Health and Face Mask Use

There are minimal concerns considering the physiological changes to CO2 and O2 saturation levels and respiration while wearing a mask; numerous people report great discomfort due to prolonged use of a mask. Extended use of masks is associated with an increase in perceived shortness of breath and perceived exertion, as well as complaints of light-headedness and headaches. 

Mental Health and Face Mask Use

The recommendation for wearing masks may affect the perception of autonomy if individuals feel like they do not choose whether or not to wear them. This, in turn, may lead to reduced feelings of autonomy. Besides, it can lead to negative attitudes towards wearing masks, rather than any real physiological discomforts or effects. Negative feelings mediated the lack of intention to wear a mask in men (i.e., it is not cool, a sign of weakness, or shameful), leading to less favorable intentions and attitudes. 

Professionals weigh on effective mask-wearing practices so that people can take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously in public and maintain a distance of six feet from others. It is also advised to seek professional therapist assistance during these times of distress.